Dressing for Success Means Leaving the Chicken Suit at Home


NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Put the chicken suit back on the hanger. It's no surprise that 80% of executives believe that clothing choices affect an employee's chances of earning a promotion -- and they think the parachute pants aren't helping your cause. But what may be surprising is what some employees are wearing to work.

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With America's growing tendency to dress down at the workplace, what you wear in a corporate culture is less important these days. When the survey was last taken back in 2007, 93% of executives tied a professional look to the potential for job promotions.

In a survey of more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees, executives were asked, "To what extent does someone's style of dress at work influence his or her chances of being promoted?" Their responses:

Significantly 8%
Somewhat 72%
Not at all 20%

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Significantly 33%
Somewhat 60%
Not at all 7%

According to the managers interviewed, some of the strangest apparel they've seen worn to work – not including outfits worn in observance of Halloween – were a dinosaur costume, pajamas, parachute pants, a chicken suit, coveralls, a space suit, studs with motorcycle gear and a wolf mask. Particularly unusual ensembles included:

  • "A T-shirt, tie and flip-flops"
  • "Short pants and a winter jacket"
  • "One red sock and one white sock"
  • "Tennis shoes and men's knicker pants"
  • "Shorts and house slippers"
  • "A red suit with sporty footwear"

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Some employees chose bolder looks:

  • "A see-through dress"
  • "Fishnet stockings and stilettos"
  • "A bathing suit"
  • "A tube top"
  • "A backless shirt"

Sports-minded office workers were seen wearing:

  • "A muscle shirt"
  • "A sweat suit"
  • "Yoga pants"
  • "Very tight bike shorts"
  • Employees not soon to be seen in a corner office were donning:

  • "Torn jeans"
  • "A vest with a big hole in the back"
  • "A T-shirt with cut-off sleeves"
  • "Saggy pants"
  • "Sandals with socks"
  • "Flood pants"
  • The survey was conducted on behalf of temporary staffing firm OfficeTeam, a division of Robert Half International.

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